Tai Tzu-Ying poses on the podium after beating Carolina Marin. -AFP
SINGAPORE: Tai Tzu Ying cemented her status as the world’s top female shuttler as she beat reigning Olympic champion and world number two Carolina Marin in straight games at the Singapore Open on Sunday.
World number one Tai took just 38 minutes to seal a clinical 21-15, 21-15 victory at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
It was Tai’s fifth consecutive Super Series title and her second victory over Marin in less than two weeks, having already triumphed at the Malaysian Open final.
The usually unflappable Marin had no answers to Tai’s excellent defensive work and quick smashes as the diminutive 22-year-old edged ahead at 13-10 and eventually took the first game.
The Spaniard still failed to find her rhythm in the second, as a composed Tai dictated the pace and saw out the game comfortably.
Tai said she was pleased with her performance but unfazed by her Super Series streak.
“I know I wouldn’t be able to beat Marin easily, so I was very patient when playing with her. I felt that I played quite well today,” she told reporters.
“I think everyone around me is more concerned about these five titles. But for me, I just want to play well in every tournament.”
It was Tai’s first title in the city-state and she did not drop a game all tournament.
In the men’s singles title, India’s B. Sai Praneeth beat compatriot Srikanth Kidambi 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 for the first Super Series title of his career.
Praneeth, the world number 30, said he was pegged back by a slow start but refused to give up. “When I got my strokes going good and I got some rhythm, I thought‘OK, the game is still on.’“
“This is the best feeling: I had been waiting for a long, long time,” he added.
In the opening mixed doubles match, China’s Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong beat Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai 19-21, 21-16, 21-11.
There was double joy for Denmark as they claimed both the men’s and women’s doubles.
Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl beat Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-18, 14-21, 21-15, while Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen beat Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen of China 21-13, 21-14.
The tournament saw its fair share of upsets early on, with defending men’s and women’s singles champions Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia and Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand dumped out on Wednesday.
Kuncoro succumbed to South Korea’s Lee Dong-Keun while world number eight Ratchanok was beaten by Japan’s Sayaka Sato.
Olympic bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen of Denmark was shown the door on the same day, falling in three sets to Hong Kong’s Vincent Wong. -AFP